Saffron party's 'hardline hindutva' face

Saffron party's 'hardline hindutva' face

Famous for his fiery outbursts and controversial remarks, Yogi Adityanath’s journey from ‘sanyas’ (ascetic life) to ‘sinhasan’ (throne) has been full of controversies.

He is known for toeing different lines, even if it is against his own party. The firebrand saffron leader and BJP MP from Gorakhpur is also the ‘mahant’ (religious head) of the popular Gorakshnath Peeth.

Born on June 5, 1972, in the Garhwal region of the neighbouring hill state of Uttarakhand, as Ajai Singh, Adityanath turned an ascetic at the age of 22 after graduating from the Garhwal University in science.

A close aide of Avaidyanath, the former ‘mahant’ of the Gorakhnath Temple, which has millions of followers, especially in eastern Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Bihar, Adityanath became the head of the Gorakhsnath Peeth after Avaidyanath fell ill.

Adityanath became an MP at the age of 26 and has represented the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat since 1998. He formed the Hindu Yuva Vahini in 2002, an outfit having members in almost every district of Uttar Pradesh.

Not new to controversies
Adityanath is known for toeing hardline ‘hindutva’ and also courted controversies by his remarks on issues concerning Muslims. He had compared Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to Hafiz Saeed when Khan had remarked on “growing intolerance” in the country.

He was also actively involved in religious programmes across the state and was instrumental in facilitating return of the Hindu “converts” back to the faith. He has also been known for his strong views on ‘shariat’ (Islamic laws).

He even went to jail during communal violence at Gorakhpur in 2007 for defying the orders of the authorities.

Adityanath is also known for defying the party leadership whenever things did not go as he wanted. He had once put his own nominee on an Assembly seat in Gorakhpur after the party refused nomination to his candidate.

A strong advocate of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Adityanath has favoured construction of the temple on the disputed site through a legislation.

“Vikas sabka par tushtikaran kisi ka nahin” (development for all but appeasement of none), Adityanath had remarked in his election meetings in the state in the just concluded Assembly polls.

It remains to be seen if the firebrand saffron leader sheds his hardline ‘hindutva’ image and delivers on the promises made by the BJP during the elections
DH News Service

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